Mike Hodel's Hour 25

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February 2003

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Index to our previous shows

  • February 1, 2003 - Shuttle Down
  • Shows from January, 2003
  • Shows from December, 2002
  • Shows from November, 2002
  • Shows from October, 2002
  • Shows from September, 2002
  • Shows from August, 2002
  • Shows from July, 2002
  • Shows from June, 2002
  • Shows from May, 2002
  • Shows from April, 2002
  • Shows from March, 2002
  • Shows from February, 2002
  • Shows from January, 2002
  • Shows from December 2001
  • Shows from November, 2001
  • Shows from October, 2001
  • Shows from September, 2001
  • Shows from August, 2001
  • Shows from July, 2001
  • Shows from June, 2001
  • Shows from May, 2001
  • Shows from April, 2001
  • Shows from March, 2001
  • Shows from February, 2001
  • Shows from January, 2001
  • Shows from November - December, 2000
  • Shows from September - October, 2000
  • Shows from July - August, 2000

  • Shuttle Down - February 1, 2003

    We took risks...

    By now you know what happened. You've seen the contrail pulsing across the blue sky, a bright point of light dividing and redividing as it arched over a clear Texas morning.

    The last time we saw an image like this on the news it signaled the fall of the Mir space station from the heavens. Today it marked the death of seven astronauts and the loss of Shuttle Orbiter OV-102, Columbia, the first of the Shuttles to fly in space.

    We do not yet know the cause of the accident or what will be required to prevent it from happening again. We only know that seven individuals paid the ultimate price for challenging the unknown. Just as others before them have paid that price; in space or the air, in deserts or underwater, in polar cold and jungle heat.

    As painful as the thought might be, we can be sure that others in the future will be called upon to pay an equal price, no matter where they might be exploring.

    And though today we mourn the loss of brave individuals, fathers or mothers, brothers or sisters, sons or daughters, friends and co-workers, we can be glad that there are people such as these. Individuals who find challenges and follow their dreams even if that puts them in harm's way. People who don't cower before the possibility of death but face it head on.

    I am sure that in the days and weeks to come there will be those who think the risks are too high, the costs too great. That we should turn our backs on the universe and live lives that avoid all danger. That we should turn our backs on the opportunities presented to us by the universe that lies on the other side of our clear blue skies.

    But those people would be wrong in the worst way.

    We cannot turn our backs on the universe because that would lock our species into a future that is a never-ending fight over ever shrinking resources and would condemn most of the human race to lives filled with misery and want. In a world filled with weapons of almost unimaginable power this is a prescription for disaster.

    And it is one that need not happen. Not when there are resources enough in the universe that lies just a hundred miles above our heads to make possible a world where everyone has access to the resources and energy needed to live a life free of poverty and want. To create a world that isn't divided into 'haves' and 'have nots'. To create a world where everyone is free to pursue their heart's interests and to achieve everything they are capable of imagining.

    That is a future worth our dreams, our imagination and our hard work. And yes, even our lives.

    We should be grateful that there are people who are willing to face those challenges, even when it means making the ultimate sacrifice. And we should take their example to heart and live our lives to the fullest, following our dreams wherever they might take us.

    As H.G. Welles has said, "The choice is ours. Which shall it be? The Universe or Nothing?"

    For more information about the loss of the Columbia you might consult these links. {Please note that with the large amount of interest in the Columbia accident these web sites are quite busy and you may have trouble getting into them.}

  • NASA has a web site with information about the loss of the Columbia, the on-going investigation into this accident, the crew and other related subjects.
  • This NASA web page contains pictures of the crew of the Columbia along with other pictures from their mission. {Audio files from STS-107 can be found here and video files can be found here.}
  • You can find the Press Kit from the STS-107 mission here.

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